Archive for January, 2016

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #468: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Will Quinn

h1 Sunday, January 31st, 2016


I got a postcard in the mail this week with the image above on it. It was a happy surprise and a note from a RISD graduate, named Will Quinn, who told me he reads and enjoys my blog. I was taken with the image and then visited his website to see more of his artwork.

I’m pleased that today he’s visiting 7-Imp to talk about his work and share even more art. It’s not the first Sunday of the month, when I tend to feature student or brand-new illustrators, but since I’ll be out of town next weekend at the beginning of February, I’m switching things up and posting that this week. (I will be posting next Sunday, though, for the record. Would I ever leave my kickers down? Nope.)

I see good things, and even more potential, in his illustrations. And I wasn’t at all surprised to read about his influences and the artists who inspire him.

Let’s get right to it. I thank him for visiting.

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What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, Featuring
Emily Arnold McCully, Charlotte Pardi,
Christian Robinson, and Charles Santoso

h1 Friday, January 29th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

I’m following up today with some illustrations from the picture books I wrote about (here) at Kirkus last week. They include:

Pictured above is an image from Christian Robinson.

Enjoy the art. …

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Setting Sail with Steve Light

h1 Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

If I think of children’s book illustrators working today and style—that is, their manner of expression as determined by their use of line, color, shape, texture, etc.—I think author-illustrator Steve Light has one of the most distinctive styles, a you-can-spot-it-from-outer-space kind of style. In particular, his line is terrifically distinctive, and he’s visited 7-Imp several times to share his pen-and-ink sketches and artwork — and to show off those lines at my request.

Steve’s latest book is called Swap! (Candlewick), and it will be released in early February. It’s good stuff, and if you don’t believe me, trust me when I say it’s already garnered some starred professional reviews. It’s a sweet, but never saccharine, story of friendship. A young boy (the jacket flap refers to the child as “he,” though one of my daughters thought it was a girl, and I like this about that character), with a peg for a leg, sets out to cheer up a friend, a sea captain whose ship is falling apart. Through a series of barters, starting with the trade of a button for a teacup, the child helps fix up the ship for his friend. And it’s through these barters that the adventures occur and readers meet a cast of wonderful sea-side characters — from tattooed burly men drinking tea; to a get-it-done female blacksmith, forging anchors; and just about everything else in between. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #467: Featuring Raúl Colón

h1 Sunday, January 24th, 2016

“Sometimes in class I’d gaze at a large map that hung on the wall. …
What would it be like to look out at nothing but dark blue as far as the eye could see?”

(Click to see full spread and read text in its entirety)

Good morning, all. I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Robert Burleigh’s Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, January 2016), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

I’m following up with some art from it today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring R. Gregory Christie

h1 Friday, January 22nd, 2016

“Week in, week out, from sun to sun,
always more chores to be done.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Over at Kirkus today, I take a look at some new 2016 picture books addressing death and loss.

That is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee Books, January 2016), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. I’m following up today with some spreads from the book. Be sure to click on the column from last week to see a fourth spread there at that post.

Until Sunday …

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Shaking Up Storytimes . . .

h1 Thursday, January 21st, 2016

We create art and share art, because it helps us express visions of ourselves, our values, our history, or hopes. I resist any notion that this communication must be a one-way street, given from adults on high to children below; as children encounter picture books and their stories and art, I want to empower them to critically engage with the ideas, ideologies, and representations that text and art communicate and to delight in how sharing books and talking about them can foster their own thinking and creativity.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Megan Down Lambert, pictured here, about her new book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge, 2015). If you love picture books, you will be interested in this.

That link is here today.

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Photo of Megan used by her permission and taken by Sean P. Lambert St. Marie.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

h1 Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

If I had to create at, say, knife-point a list of the Funniest Picture Books of the Last Decade (that sounds violent, but I’m not a fan myself of creating such superlatives-lists), I’d put Michael Ian Black’s I’m Bored, illustrated by my guest Debbie Ridpath Ohi (her illustrated self-portrait is above), on that list. What can I say? I’m a fan of the potato.

Know what else I am? Slow. Or busy. Or both. When Debbie released a new picture book last year, one she’d both written and illustrated, she sent me these interview responses, and I’m just now getting around to posting the interview. I thank her for her patience — and also this image of us getting ready for breakfast:

(Click to enlarge)

It looks like we’re having tea and toast, though I’ll have to make some coffee too. Also, we’ll have steelcut oatmeal with raisins, because that’s her breakfast-of-choice. “I like the texture,” Debbie tells me, “especially if they’re fresh-cooked and a little crunchy. I never used to like oatmeal until I read Angela’s Ashes.”

I really enjoyed this interview, because I learned quite a few new things about Debbie. You think you know someone—at least from their public persona—and then they up and surprise you. I like that. Also, I like the way she sees the world (her found-object art being a lovely case-in-point). Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Thanks again to Debbie for visiting. …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #466: Featuring Andrea D’Aquino

h1 Sunday, January 17th, 2016

“Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea.
‘I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.”

(Click to enlarge)

I’ve got the artwork today of art director, illustrator, and graphic designer Andrea D’Aquino. In this, her debut, she provides illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as part of a series from Rockport Publishers, called Classics Reimagined. D’Aquino’s interpretation of this story is bold, beautiful, and surreal; her watercolor, collaged artwork provides a modern, fresh look at a story many know so well. It’s a thoughtfully-bound book; go here and scroll down to see images of how the publisher worked quotes into the book’s exterior. (They put quotes on the page’s edges, a nice touch.)

Andrea shares quite a bit of art below from the book, so let’s get right to it so that you can see for yourself. I thank her for sharing!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jessica Ahlberg

h1 Friday, January 15th, 2016

“‘Oh!’ said Lucy. ‘I know where we are.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)


Above is a spread from Jessica Ahlberg’s Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker: A Peek-Through Story (Candlewick, March 2016), which I wrote about here at Kirkus last week.

Today, I’ve got a look at Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee Books, January 2016), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. That is here.

Until Sunday …

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FAIRY TALES FOR MR. BARKER. Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Ahlberg. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

Maya’s Blanket / La manta de maya

h1 Thursday, January 14th, 2016

” … under her own special, magical manta. /
… bajo su propia manta especial y mágica.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Here’s a quick post, featuring the artwork of David Díaz. The illustrations are from author Monica Brown’s Maya’s Blanket/la manta de Maya (Lee & Low, August 2015). Last week Monica and I chatted over here at Kirkus, so here are a few spreads from the book.


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